How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Drexel Heights AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
A dental hygienist is an oral health professional who is responsible for preventing and treating oral diseases. Dental hygienists perform much of their work independently, with only general supervision from a licensed dentist. Dental hygienists are an important part of dentist-led teams. Their work removes a considerable burden from the dentist, freeing up the dentist to perform more advanced procedures. Therefore, it is quite common for dental hygienists to perform many of the preventive dental procedures in an office, such as teeth cleaning, examining patients for oral diseases and other preventative dental care. Hygienists will scrape the tartar and plaque off of your teeth and polish them. Hygienists also usually take X-rays of your teeth and gums, give patients a fluoride rinse, and apply sealants to the teeth to ward off cavities. A hygienist will also review ways to care for your teeth and overall health at home, offering tips on ways to brush and floss, and on what foods to avoid or to eat for a healthy mouth.
Dental Hygienist Schooling and LicensingIndividuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Drexel Heights AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Drexel Heights AZ employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Drexel Heights AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Drexel Heights AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.